Border closure extended to July 21, although Canada lets immediate family visit

  WHATCOM ­— The latest county numbers on COVID-19 show a one-week jump of 16 new cases, from 34 to 50 total, in the Lynden School District, and also an increase in the percentage of cases overall in Whatcom in the 20- to 39-year-old age group.

  The rate of cases, per population in the district, also rose notably, from 168 per 100,000 people a week ago to 247 now. The rates of infection went up significantly as well in the Ferndale, Nooksack Valley and Meridian school districts, according to numbers from the county Health Department.

  Officials with the department did not comment further on the apparent outbreak in the Lynden area. But a general press release was put out (see  page A3.)

  The age group rate was up 2 percentage points among 20- to 39-year-olds while down in all four other age categories.

  • On Tuesday, Canada and the United States agreed to keep their border closed to non-essential travel for another month, through July 21 at least. The ban was otherwise due to end this Sunday.

  This is the third extension of the closure, which began in March. 

  Trade including much truck traffic is exempt, as are also healthcare workers who live and work on opposite sides of the border.

  Locals have made the most of having in-person meetings on the green grounds of border-spanning Peace Arch State Park in Blaine or even spaced 20 to 30 feet apart, on either side of the border, along Boundary Road and Zero Avenue north of Lynden.

  However, last week the Canadian government eased some restrictions to help reunite family members split up by the closure.

  Immediate family members of Canadians citizens or permanent residents will be permitted to come into Canada, even if they themselves do not hold any legal status there.

  The definition includes a spouse or common-law partner; a dependent child or grandchild; a parent or step-parent of the Canadian; or a guardian or tutor.

  Any new arrivals will have to strictly isolate themselves for 14 days, 

  • Whatcom Transportation Authority will continue its reduced level of service until Sept. 20.

  “This current level of service is what the agency can sustain throughout the summer based on the availability of bus drivers, and on the availability of staff and supplies needed to keep buses and facilities clean and safe,” the agency said Monday. “Reduced service also makes it possible to add service on the busiest routes, to allow for increased social distancing onboard.” 

  Riders with questions should call 360-676-7433 or send an email to